A man facing fraud charges for allegedly masquerading as a woman and marrying an unsuspecting Bountiful man may raise the ire of some wedding traditionalists.
Felix Urioste, 34, wore a white bridal gown when he became Bruce Jensen's wife in December, 1991 - but was it his first trip down the proverbial aisle?While searching a box of documents belonging to Urioste, investigators found what looks like a torn-up New Mexico marriage certificate listing Manuel J. Herrera as groom and Patisha Leasa McFarland, one of Urioste's female aliases, as the bride.
Police, however, are skeptical.
"The certificate indicates a 1986 Catholic wedding in Albuquerque, but the document appears to be fraudulent," said Bountiful Police Sgt. Grant Hodgson. "We checked with the marriage license bureau in New Mexico, and they have no record of the certificate."
Hodgson confirmed that Urioste had lived "a number of years" with Herrera in both New Mexico and Utah before meeting Jensen.
Meanwhile, Urioste's trial date for second-degree felony communications fraud was rescheduled Tuesday for Sept. 27. Second District Judge Rodney S. Page also reduced his bail from $20,000 to $5,000.
Prosecutors say Urioste defrauded his "husband" of thousands of dollars after Jensen, believing Urioste was female and pregnant, married him.
The defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Urioste's marriage apparently turned sour in April when Jensen, 39, filed a missing persons report on his wife, whom he knew as "Leasa." Nevada police later arrested Urioste in Las Vegas for investigation of possession of unauthorized credit cards. He had apparently shed his female persona and was traveling as a man.
After learning that "Leasa" was a man, Jensen quickly filed for an annulment.
Detectives say Urioste may have run up as much as $60,000 in credit card bills. They have also gathered evidence indicating Urioste may have posed as a doctor at University Hospital, although he reportedly had no contact with patients.
Several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, are also investigating possible tax fraud and illegal use of Social Security numbers in connection with student loans at Weber State University and the University of Utah, said Hodgson.
Defense attorney Marlin Criddle is unsure how his client will post bail or where he will stay after his release. Urioste has contacted his sister, Jeannie Urioste, in Las Vegas, N.M., but for now remains in isolation at the Davis County Jail.
Life behind bars has been difficult for Urioste, who has endured taunting and harassment from fellow inmates. But problems ceased after an inmate realized the difficulty it caused Urioste and asked others to stop the taunting, said Criddle.